Published 4/1/2012

Second Look—Advocacy

IPAB repeal moves forward
The Hill
reports that the U.S. Senate is under pressure to address the issue of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). The Medicare Decisions Accountability Act—legislation to repeal the IPAB—has been sent to the full House and a vote is expected by the end of March. IPAB is called for under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and tasked with recommending Medicare provider payment cuts if federal healthcare spending grows faster than a targeted rate, with Congress being given the power to overrule the panel’s decisions. Critics of the panel argue that such changes should not be left in the hands of an unelected body with minimal congressional oversight.

More states installing CME mandates
According to American Medical News, several states have imposed continuing medical education (CME) requirements on physicians. At least 16 states currently mandate specific CME subjects; eight states have imposed new course requirements during the last 5 years.

Several states are also working to implement “Maintenance of Licensure” (MOL) requirements through the Federation of State Medical Boards. MOL is envisioned as a system of continuous professional development for physicians, and participation would be a condition for license renewal. It is anticipated that physicians who are already engaged in Maintenance of Certification (MOC) would be recognized as being substantially in compliance with any state’s MOL program.

CMS delays implementation of ICD-10
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced it will postpone the date by which certain healthcare entities must comply with International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition diagnosis and procedure codes (ICD-10). The original compliance date was Oct. 1, 2013, but healthcare providers had argued that the changeover placed an administrative burden on physicians and hospitals that are already in the midst of a transition to electronic medical records. Critics have also argued that the new system is more complex than it needs to be and have requested CMS to consider a different replacement for ICD-9.

CMS releases Stage 2 EMR meaningful use proposed rule
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has finalized a proposed rule for Stage 2 criteria that eligible healthcare providers must meet to qualify for electronic medical record (EMR) incentive payments under Medicare and Medicaid. Under the rule, providers who haven’t met Stage 1 meaningful use requirements by Oct. 3, 2014, will face a 1 percent cut in Medicare Part B payments starting in 2015. Providers will have to prove that their EMR system can meet specific objectives outlined by CMS, including having the capability to exchange patients’ notes, medication lists, allergies, and diagnostic test results.

These items originally appeared in AAOS Headline News Now, a thrice-weekly enewsletter that keeps AAOS members up to date on clinical, socioeconomic, and political issues, with links to more detailed information. Subscribe at www.aaos.org/news/news.asp (member login required)